Welcome to the April update from endurance runner Susie Chan, who has travelled from the desert in Morocco to the deserts and mountains of California, with some great training at home in between. Read on to be inspired!
1. Why in the World podcast – 1st April
Susie features in Episode 14 of the Why in the World podcast, in which host Ben Shepperd finds out why people do what they do. In this podcast you’ll find Susie chatting to Ben about how she started running as an attempt to get fitter and healthier, why it’s never too late to start running, taking part in Marathon des Sables, other big race achievements and surviving cancer. Whether you’re out for a run or just want something inspirational to listen to, tune in!
2. Marathon des Sables – 5th April
The time finally came for Susie to return to Morocco for the legendary Marathon des Sables. Having completed the race herself an impressive four times, this time she was going out as part of the media team to cover the race for Runner’s World and Strava. Susie’s role would see her assisting the UK runners, capturing stories along the route, going out in the MdS helicopter where she got breathtaking aerial views of the whole camp, getting medical kit and emergency water off the mountain and helping with all the incredible behind-the-scenes work that goes into Marathon des Sables.
Whilst it was fascinating to see the race from the other side, Susie was delighted to be able to take part in the 32km Stage 1 – and appreciative to not have to carry full kit for 6 days like everyone else. She also loved reporting on Cactus, the MdS dog, a heroic 4-legged friend who completed several stages of the race.
It was a huge privilege for Susie to be able to see Marathon des Sables from the other side and witness people go on their incredible week-long journey through the dunes, over mountains and relentless sand and rocks. The race is real testament to the human spirit and how you can achieve your dreams if you put your mind to it. In Susie’s own words, “If you think you are not strong enough to do this race, but would like to do this race…you can.”
Photo © Ian Corless
3. Training back in the UK
With marathon season fully under way, Susie had plenty of advice and support for all those undertaking marathons during April. She admits that for her first ever marathon in Paris, in 2011, she put too much pressure on herself to hit a particular time. She had no idea back then that marathon running would become a huge part of her life and that she would be running marathons and ultra marathons all over the world.
Having had a break from long distance running due to a foot injury, Susie is now healed and focusing on shorter, faster races, with the aim of improving her 10K time. Her friend, British long distance runner Lily Partridge, has set her a training programme and she’s spending time doing intervals, hill reps, hot yoga, parkrun and more.
Susie certainly picks some stunning spots to run, which is key to keeping motivated!
4. Badwater Salton Sea race – 27th April
Susie was originally meant to be running the Badwater Salton Sea race but had to pull out earlier this year due to a persistent foot injury.
However, she certainly wasn’t going to miss it – she went out anyway to help out at this 81-mile team event where teams must run within 20 metres of each other. Competitors have to traverse the Southern California deserts and mountains, from Salton Sea (71m below sea level) to Palomar Mountain, at 1,676m – a total elevation gain of over 9,000 feet.
Susie loved helping out at registration, patrolling the course, running up a mountain anyway and then working on the finish line. Smiling as always, she is a great example of how to make the best of a situation when things don’t go to plan.